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Job Mobility Action Plan helps people ‘on the move’

Getting ’mobility stakeholders’ to work together is necessary in order to obtain better results in removing barriers to mobility. The EURES cross-border partnership Meuse-Rijn, located between Germany, France, and the Netherlands is a successful example. The partnership comprises public employment services, trade unions, chambers of commerce, consultancies dealing with cross-border commuting, and representatives of the local communities in all three neighbouring countries. The advantages of this cooperation are, among other things, improved and better targeted information to jobseekers and employers as well as continuous efforts by all the partners aiming at the simplification of administrative practices and other obstacles to mobility.

To encourage such cooperation and other activities to reduce the practical obstacles to mobility that jobseekers, workers and employers are still facing the European Commission launched in December 2007 the European Job Mobility Action Plan, which will run until 2010.

Europeans are still uncertain about the potential benefits of mobility and, more importantly, they also continue to face practical as well as legal and administrative obstacles, such as having to deal with high rents and poor availability of housing, difficulties for spouses and partners in finding employment, a lack of information on the portability of pensions, linguistic barriers, and difficulties in having their qualifications recognised abroad.

”Workers mobility is both a fundamental right for EU citizens and a key instrument for developing a European labour market. It helps to better match workers with jobs, overcoming bottlenecks in the labour market and allowing more people to find better jobs," the EU Commissioner for Employment, Vladimir Špidla emphasises. However, even though work mobility in Europe has been gradually on the increase in recent years, its level still remains relatively low.

The European Commission’s Action Plan encourages EU Member States to improve existing laws and administrative practices, in particular coordinating social security issues and the portability of supplementary pensions. For example, by 2009 the Commission expects the coordination of social security matters to be made possible on line, which will facilitate the introduction of an electronic version of the European Health Insurance Card.

Through the organisation of European Job Days, the general public will be able to access job offers from employers in EU/EEA and Switzerland and information about the possibilities and advantages of job mobility. .

The European Commission is convinced of the importance and efficiency of EURES as a ‘one-stop shop’ for job mobility in Europe and its role will be reinforced. The EURES network will further improve its services and make a special effort to reach out to certain target groups, such as the long-term unemployed, young workers, older workers, women, researchers, self-employed workers, and seasonal workers.

The Action Plan aims to help job-seekers and their families to have improved access to more and better jobs. It also supports employers to hire staff from abroad to better overcome shortages and bottlenecks. Meanwhile, local, regional and national authorities will benefit from better coordination and simplified administration of social security and pensions, and will be encouraged to take initiatives to facilitate mobility.

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